Lady Clare Westmore is pretty certain that she’s well on her way of securing the affection of Mr. Charles Alban, the next Duke of Harrington. Every sign seems to suggest that with just a bit more time with him, he will propose marriage by the end of the season. When she manages to sprain her ankle violently, she still insists on going to the evening’s ball, as passing up a chance to dance with Mr. Alban is unthinkable. However, the pain is such that she can barely stand, and she ends up in the corner with the wallflowers, shocked to discover that her so- called best friend dances and flirts with the duke’s heir instead. She’s rather rude to the young man who approaches her, assuring her that he is a physician, wanting to treat her injured leg. Dr Daniel Merial nonetheless manages to persuade her that he can help her, so Clare limps to the library in search of her mother, who’s there as her chaperone. She receives her second shock of the evening when she finds her mother in the arms of a young man.
Mortified, Clare mainly allows Dr. Merial to examine her ankle, hoping that his doctor-patient confidentiality will prevent him from gossipping about her mother to anyone. She’s extremely upset when he concludes that she will need to stay at home, resting her ankle for the next six weeks. That will completely ruin her chances with Mr. Alban! One of the most popular girls of the season is suddenly taken completely out of the running, and with the time she’s left to spend at home, Clare is also forced to consider the many things that are clearly disastrously wrong in her parents’ marriage.
While she’s actually a very intelligent and well-informed young lady, Clare has created the perfect image for society of a carefree, slightly flighty beauty, perfectly behaved, dressed and with friends who have all the right connections. She despairs of the wild manners of her young brother and unconventional and spirited sister, who is due to debut in society soon. Once she’s home bound, her siblings admit that they strongly dislike the persona she’s created and she is forced to acknowledge the duplicity and fickleness of her so-called society friends.
Dr Daniel Merial came to London to perfect a device to administer anaesthesia, and when he’s not working in the hospital or attending the dying Lady Austerly, he works on experiments at night, trying to make it work. He is in desperate need of other rich clients as his pay at the hospital isn’t enough to fund his invention. So he’s quite glad to be asked back to treat the cranky Miss Westmore, as he really does need the money. The more time they spend together, the harder it becomes for him to keep a professional distance. That her younger siblings both adore him as well and are eager for him to visit, makes it even harder for him to stay away.
I always enjoy discovering a new romance author. The rest of my review is here.